Colombo (Sri Lanka) | Jagran News Desk: The Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned on Monday amid the island nation's worst economic crisis since independence that has led to widespread protests, prompting authorities to impose a nationwide curfew and deploy army troops in the capital.
 
Taking to Twitter PM Rajapaksa wrote, "Effective immediately I have tendered my resignation as Prime Minister to the President."

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is the prime minister's younger brother.

In his resignation letter, Prime Minister Mahinda said that he is stepping down to pave way for the All-Party Interim Government to be formed.

"I write to inform (you) that I have decided to resign from the post of prime minister with immediate effect. This is in line with your request made at the special cabinet meeting held on May 6, wherein you said that you intend to set up an all-party interim government," he wrote in his resignation letter.

He said that he will be "ready to make any sacrifice even in the future in order to help the people and the government overcome the present crisis."

This comes days after President Gotbaya Rajapaksa, in a special meeting, requested the Prime Minister to step down as a solution to the ongoing political crisis in the country, Sri Lanka's Daily Mirror reported.

Now that the Prime Minister has resigned, President Rajapaksa is expected to invite all the political parties in Parliament to form an all-party Cabinet.

Earlier, the opposition party Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) confirmed that its leader Sajith Premadasa will not accept the PM's post in an interim government.

On Monday morning protesters held a demonstration opposite the Temple Trees, the official residence of the prime minister, urging Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa not to resign.

Following their meeting with the prime minister, they clashed with anti-government protesters near the Temple Trees. At least 16 people who sustained injuries have been admitted to the Colombo National Hospital.

The resignation came shortly after he put out a tweet urging the general public to exercise restraint.

"While emotions are running high in #lka, I urge our general public to exercise restraint & remember that violence only begets violence. The economic crisis we're in needs an economic solution which this administration is committed to resolving," Mahinda said in a tweet.

Responding to Mahinda's tweet, former Sri Lankan cricketer Kumar Sangakkara said, "The only violence was perpetrated by your 'supporters' - goons and thugs who came to your office first before going on to assault the peaceful protestors."

In a special Cabinet meeting on Friday, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency with effect from Friday midnight. This is the second time that an emergency was declared in Sri Lanka in just over a month as the island nation was in the grip of the worst economic crisis.

PM Rajapaksa's ancestral house set on fire

 Sri Lanka Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa's residence in the city of Kurunegala in the north-western province was set on fire by protestors after he resigned amid protests. 

Protestors set the house of Mayor and MPs on fire

Anti-government protesters on Monday set on fire the official residences of Sri Lanka's Moratuwa Mayor Saman Lal Fernando and the MPs Sanath Nishantha, Ramesh Pathirana, and Nimal Lanza.

A large number of protesters including the Inter University Students' Federation (IUSF) were out on streets and attacked the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna MPs. Even some Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) offices were set ablaze, Daily Mirror reported.

The Sri Lankan police said that the buses carrying the supporters of the SLPP have been damaged in various parts of the country while some of their supporters have been tied up to poles.

Nationwide Curfew

Sri Lankan authorities on Monday imposed a nationwide curfew and Army troops were deployed in the capital after pro-government groups attacked protesters outside President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's office, leaving at least 130 people injured.

Curfew was imposed islandwide with immediate effect until further notice, a police spokesperson was quoted as saying by the local media.

A military contingent was deployed to the protest site to assist law enforcement after clashes between pro-government and protestors at MynaGoGama and GotaGoGama protest sites left 78 people injured.

Sri Lanka is currently in the throes of unprecedented economic turmoil since its independence from Britain in 1948. The crisis is caused in part by a lack of foreign currency, which has meant that the country cannot afford to pay for imports of staple foods and fuel, leading to acute shortages and very high prices.

Thousands of demonstrators have hit the streets across Sri Lanka since April 9 seeking resignation of President Gotabaya and Prime Minister Mahinda, as the government ran out of money for vital imports; prices of essential commodities have skyrocketed and there are acute shortages in fuel, medicines and electricity supply.

(With inputs from agencies)

Posted By: Sugandha Jha